Swatch it! Fall 2013
by Clara Parkes
For me, nothing is as satisfying as a quick pair of fingerless mitts. Pair them with a hat and I'm over the moon.
You can use pretty much any yarn you like. After all, what's the worst thing that can happen? The hat might lack sufficient elasticity to hug your head (or give you that dreaded hat hair). Or the mitts might stretch out or pill over time. But by then you'll be on to the next hat, the next set of mitts.
The Art and Science of Planned Pooling
By Karla Stuebing
What happens when knitting inspiration meets scientific method? A rare thing of pure beauty. Inspired by a pattern she found in an online knitting magazine, Karla Stuebing paired the mathematical expertise she uses as a statistical methodologist and research professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Houston with her passion for yarn and needles. The result—a technique that's been dubbed planned pooling—is awe-inspiring. Here's a look at how she does it—and how you can too.
Swatch it! Spring Summer 2013
by Clara Parkes
I have a confession to make. The day I picked the project for this column, it was so grey and dreary that even my solar-powered Queen Elizabeth wouldn’t wave. I saw Janine LeCras’ Wavelettes shawl and thought, “hey, now there’s a candidate for cashmere.”
Never mind that the shawlette is already knit in a Merino/cashmere/silk blend that’s probably the most appropriate and affordable cashmere combination for this project. No, I’d find others, come up with a vaguely plausible story about why they were somehow different, and spend a week playing with cashmere. Not for any technical reasons that could make you a better knitter, but simply because I was in a bad mood.
The Error of Our Ways: A Knitter's Guide to Fixing Mistakes
Part One: Minor Blunders
by Robin Melanson
If there is one thing a knitter can be certain of, it’s that mistakes will happen. No one is immune to the occasional dropped stich, wrong-slanting cable, or other error and you will never stop making mistakes like these as long as you knit. Why? Because knitters don't just sit there and stitch (not most of the time, anyhow). We knit while driving a forklift, while training our monkey butlers, or while operating the Tilt-a-Whirl at the circus. Or, you know, while watching television (but let's pretend we can do that without messing up the knitting). In other words, our attention is usually divided when we are knitting, we are not always looking at the instructions, and we pick up our WIP and put it down again a million times.
Tips and Tricks for Working with Lace
by Sandi Rosner
Spring is the time when we turn to light and airy knitting. The delicate openwork of lace is what many of us crave with the return of warm weather and as a result many of the designs in this issue feature lace as an all-over pattern or focal point.
But knitting lace can be tricky. Most patterns rely on charts. Troubleshooting mistakes can be a challenge. And ripping back hours of work to fix a problem can send the most intrepid knitter screaming from the room.
In this issue, we'll share some simple techniques that will keep you happily knitting lace all summer long.
In the Weeds
What to love (and do) about plant fibers
By Leslie Petrovski
During research trips to the foothills of the Caucasus Mountains in 2007 and 2008, archeologists discovered fragments of what appear to be the oldest textiles ever found: wild flax fibers dating back 30,000 or more years that had been twisted and dyed, most likely for cords or basket making.
That processed flax outlasted the millennia in a Georgian cave is hardly surprising if you know something about fiber. Plants are tough. Even soft-as-a-bunny’s-bum cotton is stronger than wool. And flax and hemp? Stronger still.
Plant fibers have their place in a knitter’s armamentarium. With summer approaching in the Northern Hemisphere, flora tend to be cooler to work with than fauna. They’re also absorbent, comfortable and machine washable. And you will never accidently full a cotton sweater.